December 16, 2016

Marketo first venture capitalist Bruce Cleveland on traversing the traction gap

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Before “crossing The Chasm’, startups must first successfully “traverse the Traction Gap”. The Traction Gap is a period in a startup’s lifecycle that begins just after it releases its first product and starts its first go to market activities, and ends once it has demonstrated market validation with a positive growth trajectory.

First investor in Marketo, founding executive at Siebel, and early product leader at Oracle Bruce Cleveland discusses the Traction Gap framework, key Traction Gap metrics, and tactics startups can use to successfully navigate this key phase in a company’s lifecycle.

Bruce Cleveland focuses on investments in the enterprise software market. He was the original investor and a former board member of Marketo (acquired in 2016 by Vista Equity Partner for $1.8B), currently serves on the boards of companies such as Amplero, Aria Systems, Splice Machine and Stellar Loyalty, and co-led investments in Doximity and Opal Labs. Bruce is also the co-founder and executive chairman of a new startup operating in stealth mode, the Executive Chairman of the Traction Gap Institute, and the founder and president of Bend Polytechnic Academy (BendPoly). Prior to entering venture capital in 2006, Bruce held senior executive roles in engineering, product management and product marketing with companies such as Apple, AT&T, Oracle and Siebel Systems. Bruce was a member of the founding executive team of Siebel Systems where he served as SVP, Marketing and SVP, Products. He is credited by Forbes and IDC with creating the most effective B2B alliance program in the software industry.

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